Mayor Bill Benton wants the citizens of Rosenberg to know that volunteers campaigning for the Trap Neuter Return pilot program are not affiliated with the city.

At the Rosenberg City Council meeting Tuesday, Animal Control Director Mara Hartsell presented an update about the TNR program.

Before taking action on the program, Benton wanted to clear the air.

“I understand that a group went out a few weeks back,” Benton began. “These are volunteers for the city. When they go out, they are representing the city in a way. I’ve had some concerns. Are these folks wearing masks when they go out?”

Hartsell said the TNR block walk was not an initiative led by the shelter.

“They were acting of their own volition,” she explained to council. “I cannot speak as far as what protocols were followed. They’re going out on behalf of what they believe as citizens. We did not have an active role in block walking. This was independently led, trying to mobilize the community and launch a campaign in support of the TNR.”

TNR programs are nationally recognized as the preferred means to humanely control feral feline populations without resorting to euthanasia.

“Tell them if they want to volunteer for the city, they cannot campaign while going out on our behalf. Am I clear?” Benton asked.

“Ask them to wear masks. I was also told they were not being inclusive of the other volunteers as well. We’ve gotten complaints about this group campaigning.

“It’s going to stop. OK, council members?”

Council member Jacob Balderas, who sits on the animal control shelter advisory board, reiterated that the block walking was not a board-sanctioned event.

“What we need tonight is to establish an understanding that these volunteers are instructed (not to campaign) while they’re out,” Benton said.

The rest of council agreed.

The six-month pilot program began on Ruby Street Thursday.

The program will include: Provisions for community cat caregivers; Public education/outreach efforts; Coordination with individuals and animal welfare groups; Effective cost management practices; and Establishing standard operating procedures for the transport and care of cats undergoing sterilization.

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